Republicans in the White House and Congress have discovered overhauling the nation's health care system isn't as easy as they thought it'd be. This week, however, the Republican National Committee decided it'd be a good idea to turn the tables, demanding that congressional Democrats come up with their own blueprint. The Washington Post reported:
To state the obvious: Partisan video clips are not designed to make the other party look good. There's an art to these things. You compile the worst moments by the other team, or by an opponent, and try to make them go viral.
But a strange, flailing campaign by the Republican National Committee to demand a Democratic fix for the Affordable Care Act goes unusually far in misrepresenting what the opposition party is doing or saying.
The 83-second video features a variety of prominent progressive figures, including Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, acknowledging that they'd like to see changes to the status quo. The RNC believes these concessions are important: if Democrats agree there should be additional reforms, Dems have a responsibility to present their proposals.
Even by the RNC's standards, this is an odd line of argument. First, as the Post's report noted, the video edited out relevant context to make it look like "Democrats are not just evasive, but stumped when asked what they'd be willing to change to fix the ACA. That's not what's been happening."
Second, the challenge itself is flawed. Republicans control the levers of power in Washington, so asking Democrats to do what GOP officials have struggled to do -- present a comprehensive health care blueprint -- doesn't make a lot of sense. Indeed, when Democrats were in power and asked Republicans to present their own ACA alternative, Republicans took more than seven years to come up with a plan that, at least for now, can't pass and most of the country hates.
Third, as part of the public-relations offensive, the RNC said on Twitter yesterday, "Our healthcare system is collapsing, but Democrats refuse to bring anything to the table. Where's THEIR plan?" Putting aside the fact that the system isn't collapsing, Democrats haven't been invited to participate in policy deliberations. Whether the Republican National Committee understands this or not, Dems can't "bring anything to the table" because GOP leaders have effectively hidden the table.